doctor communication

Danger Lurks at Big Box and Chain Pharmacies

nails

This article popped up in a dozen places over the past week or so. The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Axios, even QVC! How Chaos at Chain Pharmacies Is Putting Patients at Risk Reading it will curl your toenails and raise the hair on the back of your neck! You’ll wonder how you have survived your Walgreens or CVS drug prescriptions. But while I applaud the honesty and real-life approach to the exposé, I …

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Cyberchondria – Are we Putting Too Much Faith in Dr. Google?

cyberchondria

You may be reading this post because you are curious about that term – “cyberchondria.”  It’s not hard to figure out what it means. It means hypochondriac-ism as a result of doing online searches. More precisely, the act of diagnosing ourselves by using the web, then upsetting ourselves through our findings. It’s when we decide a headache is really brain cancer, or low blood sugar is translated as Parkinsons, or forgetfulness becomes Alzheimers. The word …

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When Your Provider Says, “It’s All in Your Head”

Infusion pump feeding IV drip into patients arm focus on needle

In a recent conversation with Annette, a young woman who has MS (multiple sclerosis), she described to me the first time she went for a drug infusion which had been prescribed by her neurologist. She arrived for the session using her walker, barely able to keep her balance. Exhausted, she was finally able to get comfortable in the infusion chair. As the nurse began setting up the needle and catheter injection system into her vein, …

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Preventing a Deadly Outcome from a Visit to the Doctor

Today I’m sharing an experience with you in hopes of preventing something we do but don’t think about; something which can be dangerous. At a recent doctor appointment, I found two people in the waiting room just hacking away, coughing up a storm, and very likely infecting others. They were together, and there for only a minute before the nurse took them back to the exam room, removing them from proximity to the rest of …

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The Surgical Assembly Line

When I think of an assembly line, two images pop into my head: The I Love Lucy Chocolate Factory episode where Lucy and Ethel are trying to wrap chocolates (and eat them too!) and can’t possibly keep up. My high school history class, when we learned about Henry Ford’s invention of the concept of an assembly line, where hundreds of cars were being assembled in one day. It revolutionized manufacturing, helping companies produce much more …

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Treat Your Human Body Like You Treat Your Car

leg wound

My friend Janet has a bad wound on her leg. It has been there for two months, and just looks worse and worse. Now it looks so bad she doesn’t even want to leave the house. “What does your doctor say about it?” I asked her. “I’ve been back to him five times!”, she responded. “He keeps giving me antibiotics, but it doesn’t seem to get any better.” “Five times???” I asked her, incredulously. It …

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Ac-cen-tu-ate – the Negative?

Ella Fitzgerald, photo in the public domain

It’s time to take a trip with the Way-Back Machine to a song many of us heard when we were kids – because our parents played it on the radio or record player. We all sang along! With lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and sung by Ella Fitzgerald (that’s Ella in the photo above), the song “Ac-cen-tu-ate the Positive” became popular in the mid-1940s, with its very (yes) positive message of how we should focus our …

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Did You Get Something That Looks Like a Medicare Card in the Mail?

The envelope says its from Medicare. The card inside looks very official. It’s got your name on it, and a bunch of numbers and letters that don’t look at all familiar. But – can you trust it? Is this new Medicare card for real?  Can you use it with your doctor and other medical needs? Why on earth, after all these years, would they just send you a new Medicare card for no apparent reason? …

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Black Box Warnings May Save Your Life

This often comes as a major surprise for patients: that when a prescription drug is known to be effective, and is approved by the FDA for some patients, that doesn’t mean it’s effective and safe for all patients. It’s true that some people may be allergic, or the drug might have been prescribed to treat the wrong diagnosis, or the patient may not take the drug properly and over (or under) dose…. …But those situations …

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OK, But What’s the Question?

In my previous life as a speaker and writer on patient empowerment issues, I received email, even postal mail (meaning, yes, someone paid for a stamp!) from patients who were being challenged in some way by the healthcare system. Sometimes I would hear from 8 or 10 people in a week, 25, 30 or more a month. Their stories were often sickening and terrifying. At the least they were frustrating to read (even more so …

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